Nielsen Finds Out of Home Sports Viewing in Many Places

With Nielsen adding out-of-home viewing to its ratings for ballgames, ESPN and other TV networks are able to charge advertisers for fans watching in bars, health clubs and offices.

During the summer, Nielsen conducted a survey to get a better idea of where people watch games when they’re not at home.

It also checked to see if they were watching ads when away from home.

Related: Out-of-Home Viewing Boosts Comedy, Competition Shows

As expected the survey found that restaurants and bars remain the most popular out-of -home locations, with 26% of survey respondents saying they only watched out of home sports at a restaurant or bar. Among the other 74%, 40% said they watch in restaurants and other locations and 34% said they didn’t watch in restaurants, but did watch in other places.

Nielsen separated viewers by age, with an 18-35 year old group and a 35 and older group and found some differences--mainly that while a similar percentage of younger viewers said they watched in restaurants and bars, larger numbers of young adults said the were watching in most of the other most popular out of home locations.

Among 18-34 year olds, “someone else’s home” the second most frequent response at 49%. It was also the second most popular response with older viewers, but only 39% of them named that location.

Work was named as a place to watch games by 38% of younger viewers, compared to 17% of older viewers. There was also a big gap when it came to in-transition viewing, or watching when going from one place to another. Among younger viewers, in transition was cited by 20%, compared to 9% among those 35 and up.

The extra viewing in other locations shows up in Nielsen’s out of home measurement service, which has 18 to 34 year olds accounting for 53% of out-of-home viewers watching sports this summer. Gen Z and millennial drive about 45% of out of home viewing.

More than half of those younger viewers said they watch sports with other people and a third say the watched with two other adults.

“Since viewing content away from home often involves settings that are subject to loud conversations, distractions and other activity, it’s a fair question to ask if viewers are listening to the content they’re watching,” Nielsen said in its report. “In short, they are engaged with the advertising as well as the game. The survey found that up to 66% of OOH viewers were able to listen to the entire event they watched on linear TV. In the end, while consumers who view sports content outside of the home are engaged in other activities as they watch, they are very much listening to what’s on the screen."

The survey found that fans that tuned in to watch the sports surveyed on linear TV this summer skewed male, at 62%, had an average age of 38, and live in homes with an average household income of $67,000, Nielsen said. Out of home viewers of key major summer sports were predominantly male with an average age range between 35 and 40 years of age. Their household income was slightly higher, as it ranged from $64,000 to $76,000.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.